June 30, 2008 Alert from NARAL


[NARAL sent the following “alert” reproduced below to certain journalists on June 30, 2008.  The main point of this NARAL alert has now been proven to be flatly erroneous.  It has been definitely documented that Barack Obama, as chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee, on March 13, 2003, actually led other committee Democrats in voting against a state version of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act that had just been amended to include exactly the clause (“Nothing in this section . . .” etc.) quoted by NARAL below, a clause copied from the federal law.  When it was killed by Obama and his Democratic colleagues, on a vote of 6-4, the state bill (SB 1082 as amended) was virtually identical to the federal law.
[However, the NARAL alert is correct in reporting that the federal law was enacted in 2002, not 2003.]
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Alert: CNN Coverage Includes False Description of Sen. Obama’s Record
From:   Donna Crane, Policy Director
Date:   June 30, 2008
Subject: Bill Bennett Distorts Sen. Barack Obama’s Record

On today’s edition of CNN’s “Situation Room,” Bill Bennett made outright false statements about Sen. Barack Obama’s record on choice.

Bennett claimed that a so-called “born-alive” bill on which Sen. Obama voted during his time in the Illinois Senate was identical to a federal bill that NARAL Pro-Choice America did not oppose. Bennett is absolutely wrong.

The Illinois bill did not include a provision that explicitly avoided entanglement in the abortion debate, as the federal bill did. It is inaccurate for any reporter, commentator, or surrogate for the McCain campaign to suggest otherwise.

Please see the following language from the federal version (which did not appear in the Illinois bill):

“Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being ‘born alive’ as defined in this section.”

Source: H.R.2175 (2002)

As a final note, this federal bill was signed into law on August 5, 2002—not in 2003, as Bennett repeatedly claimed on CNN.

If you have questions, please contact NARAL Pro-Choice America at 202-973-3032.

Ted Miller
Communications Director
NARAL Pro-Choice America
1156 15th Street, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 973-3034 (direct)
(202) 973-2034 (fax)
[email protected]